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Palm Beach Post (Florida)

The city is the proud owner of a new park.

At today's West Palm Beach City Commission meeting, representatives of Palm Beach Atlantic University are scheduled to formally hand over the deed to a 12-acre park the college built.

It's at the northeast corner of the Marshall and Vera Lea Rinker Athletic Campus and Community Park, between I-95 and Parker Avenue, just north of Southern Boulevard.

For the new city park, the college spent $645,610 to develop two daytime multipurpose playing fields, a water playground, restrooms and parking, and a walking trail. The park is ready now, but Palm Beach Atlantic will continue to maintain the playing fields until the turf is ready.

PBAU expects to have students using the 76.4 acre Rinker athletic campus by the fall. It will feature a lighted baseball field and two lighted softball fields, four lighted soccer fields, a 12-court tennis center, two outdoor basketball courts, two outdoor racquetball courts, two sand volleyball courts, concessions and restrooms. It will be used by 180 student-athletes in NCAA Division II competition, plus 1,400 intramural participants. PBAU also hopes to eventually hold summer sports camps. PBAU recently entered the Sunshine State Conference as a provisional member.

The private 3,760-student school bought the land for the Rinker campus nine years ago. It's raised more than $15 million toward an $18 million capital campaign, with all but $3 million of that designated for the athletic campus. The project received a major boost in 2010 when the Marshall and Vera Lea Rinker Foundation gave PBAU a $4 million grant to speed construction.

PBAU broke ground for the athletic complex in April 2008. But then the economy tanked and the project stood dormant until the fall of 2011.

The complex sits on land that once housed the Hillcrest neighborhood. Starting in the late 1980s, residents were forced to sell and their homes were razed because expansion at nearby Palm Beach International Airport created noise and safety hazards. Plans by the county for a golf course never got off the ground. Twitter: @eliotkpbp


May 27, 2014


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